edding season is upon us, so gather your cute yet comfortable shoes, best cocktail hour anecdotes and practice your dance moves to “Pony.” With wedding season comes, gifts, travel and the oft-talked about wedding hookup. According to a report from The Knot, nearly 20% of people’s guests hooked up with each other and 4% of couples said their wedding hookup blossomed into a full blown relationship. In my experience I’ve watched more than a few of my friends pair off at weddings, but actually know very few who have made it stick.
I’ve also witnessed the bride and groom engineer their wedding to be as fertile a hookup ground for singles as humanly possible, which I consider a public service. I asked my friend Fran who is getting married this summer if she and her partner have thought about this at all in the planning process. “I do like the idea of people getting together if it happens naturally,” she told me. “I think it’s really fun. I also could see mixing people up based on ‘compatibility,’ but I’m not trying to be all yente and make people’s love connections. That feels creepy and pushy to be like…. ‘You should come to my wedding and leave with a romantic interest.’ I’m just trying to have you leave drunk and sweaty.”
According to a survey from Plenty of Fish (I know), 52% of those surveyed think that people hook up at weddings because it’s easy to start a conversation, i.e: How do you know the groom? Are you from around here? Why did you just force the DJ to play “All I Want For Christmas Is You” in July? I am inclined to believe this because the number one dating philosophy of my twenties was that Halloween is the best night of the year to meet people because you can just ask why they’re dressed like a bottle of ketchup.
But for some a.k.a me 98% of the time, the wedding hookup is but a horny dream never realized. Be it shared hotel rooms, lack of options or just laser focus on the cake, sometimes you just don’t find the right person to tear off your “barnyard black-tie” apparel. While I no doubt enjoy hearing about a successful wedding hookup hastily typed up over Gchat, I live for hilariously foiled or failed ones. That may sound cruel, but I believe wedding hookups enjoy a sort of suspended moral code: Since the stakes are often so low and so high at the same time (I may never see them again! I don’t really remember who this is!), it seems feelings are rarely hurt and it’s more often just a comedy of errors.
Since the wedding hookup is such a pop-culture trope, much like losing your virginity on prom night or eating Chinese food straight out of the container when distressed, it’s hard to tell how much of the hype is based in reality. So in the name of science, I asked folks for some of their best amorous wedding stories and they delivered. Here are some locally sourced, ethically produced, failed, consummated, planned and encouraged wedding hookup (and hookup-adjacent) stories. Read and add your own. It’s for research.
“This story should be about me. This is my speciality. Even going to a wedding with someone you’re already dating makes things more exciting; everyone looks great, you’re in a hotel. It’s basically as close to a college party as you’re going to get in your 20s and 30s. Everyone is there, everyone is drunk and you generally don’t have to worry about driving home.”
“I was in South Africa for a wedding and met the very cute, international banker cousin of the groom on the pre-wedding wine tour. We had a light flirtation on wedding ceremony number one and it escalated the second night. He eventually got so drunk he said that the Dow Jones was going up like my boobs (what?) and when I decided to focus more on dancing with my friends, he disappeared. I ran into him later after a late night food run, while walking back to his room with my friend.”
“I made out with my friend’s step brother at their wedding behind the photo booth and the next morning at the goodbye brunch he asked me if we made out. IN FRONT OF HIS FATHER.”
“There was the time when I was excited for a wedding because I thought it was the perfect opportunity to hook up and get back together with my ex-boyfriend. I then had the pleasure of watching him flirt and go home with someone else.”
“I remember going to a wedding alone and getting my own hotel room and thinking, this is it, my chance for a wedding hookup made of movie dreams. I went to bed SO early (and alone).”
“At my sister’s wedding, I left my purse with my best friend and then went home with an usher. Plot twist, I had the room key for the newlyweds ( I decorated it earlier), so my brand new brother-in-law had to knock on our door at 1 a.m. looking for me and the room key when I wasn’t there. Also the usher noticed my Spanx and asked why I was wearing a wetsuit.”
“I spent most of the wedding trying to make sensual eye contact with a girl who looked like Dave Franco. Convinced she couldn’t tell I was queer, I made the DJ play ‘The Way You Make Feel’ by Janelle Monae figuring she’d pick up the extremely subtle hint. She did not.
“My husband’s dad caught our rabbi making out in the bushes behind our venue.”
*names have been changed for discretion purposes
YOUR TURN, DISH. Have you smooched a stranger at a botanical garden? Attempted to woo someone’s cousin in a church basement? Had to walk of shame it in an Embassy Suites? Keep it safe for work-ish, but like, don’t skip out on the good stuff.
Illustrations by Meredith Jensen.